Monday, March 24, 2008

Avoiding Victim Status

While it may be tempting to portray yourself to your friends as a victim of your ex, to tell your story and seek sympathy from others, placing yourself in victim status will not lead you to happiness. During the initial stages of divorce, naturally, you will want to share what happened with those closest in your life. When, however, you begin to tell anyone who will listen or continue to rehash the story over and over to others, you are headed toward permanent victim status. When you become a victim, you need never look at your own responsibility in the demise of your marriage and you become less likely to secure a better future for yourself, because even if you were abused physically or mentally in your marriage, understanding that you chose to marry this person and understanding why you made the choice will lead you to make a better choice in the future. Let me strongly emphasize that I am not saying abuse is your fault, nor is abuse ever excusable. I am saying that to avoid allowing someone else like this into your life you must not become a helpless victim, you must take responsibility for making the choice in the first place and work hard in understanding why you made that choice and deciding how to not do it again. When you turn yourself into a victim, you stay permanently attached to the relationship. Though no longer married, victims seem to find a way to stay attached to their ex through frequent communication with negative results or possible trumped up legal action to continue contact. A victim feeds on the continued contact to remain in victim status. Additionally, the victim may gain attention from others who are sympathetic, but at some point you will find these sympathetic friends disappearing as they want you to move on with your life. If your ex is the one who has become a victim, then cut off all contact. You do not have to respond to emails or phone calls, and if a response is necessary because you have children and some things must be discussed, then say nothing personal, do not respond to attacks, and whenever possible to avoid response, say by responding directly to the school or calling the doctor about the children yourself, you will maintain your own sanity and not feed into your ex’s need to be a victim. Avoid at all costs becoming a victim. Examine your own life and understand that there is nothing to be gained by being a victim, that by taking responsibility for your life and all that happens in your future, you will achieve happiness. Spend some time this week writing about yourself and deciding whether you have turned into a victim or whether your ex is exhibiting signs of being a victim. You can not control your ex, but you can control your responses to your ex and keep yourself from being a victim. Write how you are handling your situation and where your responsibility lies in the marriage and how you can avoid repeating the same mistake. And if you have taken on the roll of victim, write about how you intend to change this and move forward. You can choose happiness and leave the victim behind!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Letting go of hate and anger

Consider for a moment if you will, any feelings of anger or hatred you may have towards your ex. While you may feel justified in your feelings, anger and hatred can and will destroy your life and will greatly effect all with whom you interact. Both of these emotions infect your brain much like a virus, causing you to loose your judgment, to overreact to any situation and to transfer those feelings to others around you. You cannot hate someone and still have a love for others as love and hate cannot coexist under any circumstances. Throughout time all great spiritual leaders and philosophers have warned us of the negative effects of hatred. Hate overpowers your ability to make rational decisions, and to see the difference between right and wrong. When you feel hate bubbling up in your mind, it is important not to let that emotion run rampant in your brain. If possible remove yourself from your immediate surroundings, and take a moment to engage in either meditation, prayer, or just some deep breathing to help release the hate from your mind. Then turn your attention to something that brings you pleasure and concentrate on that image. The next time this occurs, you will become more adept at fighting off the feeling. Don’t let hate define your life. Life is too precious, too short, to let yourself be controlled and destroyed by hate. Take time this week to write in your journal how you will continue to rid your mind of feelings of anger and hate. Also, if you keep having a recurring hateful thought write about it and decide does this make me feel better? Does this thought help me to move forward? Does this thought make me dwell on a past I cannot change or a person I cannot control? You can only control your thoughts, your actions, your life. Live your life free of hate. Choose happiness!